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Isabelle Eberhardt
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    (February 17, 1877-October 21, 1904)
    Born in Geneva, Switzerland
    Settled in northern Algeria
    Explored the Sahara Desert
    Converted to Islam and joined a Sufi sect, the Qadiriyya
    Writings about her travels published posthumously as 'Algerian Short Stories' (1905), 'In the Warm Shadow of Islam' (1906) and 'The Day Laborers' (1922)
    Her first published work, 'Sepulchral Sensuality,' was an erotic tale about necrophilia.
    She dressed in men's clothing and went by the male name 'Si Mahmoud Essadi.'
    She may have married Algerian soldier Silmane Ehnni primarily to get French citizenship so she couldn't be deported from Algeria.
    A friend said, 'She drank more than a Legionnaire and smoked more than a hashish addict.'
    The first publishers of her posthumous journals spiced them up by inserting gratuitous sex scenes.
    She was fluent in French, Italian, German, Russian and Arabic.
    She called European colonists 'an invading banality.'
    She was attacked by a sabre-wielding man who nearly severed her arm (1901).
    The attack may have been an assassination attempt inspired by her anti-colonial activities.
    She forgave her attacker and successfully pleaded for his life to be spared.
    She died in a freak flash flood in the middle of the desert.
    According to some accounts, she rescued her husband from the flood waters before succumbing herself.

Credit: C. Fishel

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